A group gathered at Holy Trinity, Trinity Square on Oct. 5 to celebrate and give thanks to a community for its incredible support for seeking redress for the Canadian government’s role in the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.
The group consisted of about 145 individuals, including Japanese Canadians who endured the internment nearly 80 years ago, their families, members of Holy Trinity and the wider Anglican family, and people affiliated with various groups.
The night consisted of an abundant potluck dinner hosted by Holy Trinity and the group Japanese Canadians for Social Justice. The evening featured musical performances by Bruce Tatemichi and Mauro Bellotto as well as a sing-a-long led by Alan Gasser and Emma Whitla.
Holy Trinity member Joy Kogawa, who lived through the internment but also experienced the remorse of the Canadian government when it delivered an apology in 1988, gave a heartfelt word of thanks to those who stood with Japanese Canadians during their times of trial.
John Brewin, former MP and the son of Andrew Brewin, who took up the cause to fight for the rights of Japanese Canadians, reminded the audience of how fear that was encouraged by the Canadian government was the catalyst for this injustice to unfold. He emphasized how his father’s Christian faith was a faith in action, a banner to be worn on one’s heart, not on one’s sleeve.
Featured speaker Ed Broadbent, a former leader of the federal NDP party, re-acknowledged the injustice and encouraged people to be on alert for similar situations fed by fear in today’s political climate. Mr. Broadbent was also a witness to the Canadian government’s apology 31 years ago, when he stood up in the House of Commons to read from Ms. Kogawa’s book Obasan, a novel of a young child’s life during internment. He was representative of those who empathized with the wronged and shone light on the ability of our hearts to hold goodness and carry others.
The event of gratitude towards these buoyant hearts created an uplifting evening with a message that hope can overshadow despair, trust can outweigh doubt and good hearts, individually and collectively, can find the friends hidden within the enemy of fear.